LGB Alliance founder and black lesbian Allison Bailey spoke today of the “moral epiphany” experienced following the online backlash to comments made in a promotional video for the LGB Alliance conference.
The two-minute trailer features an extract from Allison’s keynote speech featuring the phrase “Girls are having breasts removed that have never known a lover’s caress.” Removed from the context of a discussion about trans teenagers undertaking top surgery, this led many online commentators to label her remarks “creepy and inappropriate”, and condemn the apparent sexualisation of underage girls.
Allison stands by the content of her speech, the complete video of which is now available for online viewing. However the reaction to the extract featured in the trailer has still been a deeply upsetting experience.
“As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I’m only too familiar with the guilt and misplaced blame that victims can often feel, and the vigilance it requires to maintain resistance to those urges. So to log on and see hundreds of people accuse me of endorsing and enabling child sexual abuse myself… It was an incredibly painful experience that I would not wish on anyone.
“And while the vitriol faded as the days passed, as tends to happen on Twitter, I couldn’t help but be confronted with the abusive behaviour and abhorrent accusations that I had myself been complicit in.
“A great deal of tactical and strategic thinking goes into gender critical activism, and one of our main weapons has always been to repeatedly associate trans women with child predators. This was never motivated by the desire to cause pain. It was simply a means to an end.
“But having now experienced some of that pain for myself, of being publicly accused of the most heinous and horrific acts… I’m still having trouble processing the scale on which myself and my colleagues have been responsible for inflicting such harm.
“Once you open your eyes to it, it’s endless. You’ve got the LGB Alliance’s Canadian account throwing around libellous accusations about ‘men who masturbate to images of babies’. Even our own branch has had tweets comparing transgender people to pedophilia and zoophilia banned by Twitter from hate speech. And this is from an apparent charity.
“Not to mention Graham Linehan scouring the internet for any crimes committed globally by trans people to frame as representative of them as a whole, or Helen Staniland’s armies of followers lining up to yell ‘pedo’ and ‘nonce’ at anyone who objects to the framing of her questioning. Or in Graham’s case, maybe just a stranger wearing a Pokémon T-shirt.
“While I maintain my gender critical views, I wholeheartedly apologise for the pain and harm that myself and my colleagues have caused in the way we’ve gone about expressing them, and I am also sorry that it took experiencing some of this pain for myself, albeit on a much smaller scale, for me to reach this point.
“Enough is enough. The days of myself and the LGB Alliance attempting to score points over the opposition by equating trans women with pedophilia is over. We’re better than that, all of us.”